Senate discusses nominations and amending Senate constitution

Reagan Ritterbush

The Senate of College Councils passed four pieces of legislation Thursday night regarding Voices Against Violence Theatre for Dialogue programs, the Senate constitution, scheduling advising appointments online and writing flag courses’ syllabi. 

Joint Resolution 1606 passed unanimously in support of incentivizing students in first-year and transfer-year groups to attend Theatre for Dialogue programs. According to the resolution, the theatre program will help foster awareness of bystander intervention, violence prevention and resources. 

Raphael Jaquette, Student Government liberal arts representative and co-author of JR 1606, said this resolution was written to push all incoming students to participate in interactive programs that facilitate dialogue pertinent to sexual assault, discrimination and harassment.

“Incoming students don’t think orientation actually addresses sexual assault and harassment sufficiently,” Jaquette said. “These theatre programs are able to not only help enhance students’ knowledge on the subject but also make them feel comfortable discussing it.”

Senate Bill 1607 also unanimously passed, amending the election code and Senate constitution to transition the financial director from being elected to being appointed by the president-elect and vice president-elect. According to the bill, the Senate financial director will have to be approved by the financial directors of the individual college councils.

Reynolds, vice president and co-author of S.B. 1607, said it has been difficult in the past to identify candidates with the appropriate background and experience to excel in the role. The new bill is meant to facilitate the process.

“It’s especially important that this is a transparent process,” Reynolds said. “This bill will help put more weight on the process of electing someone who has a crucial role in the Senate.”

The Senate unanimously passed Senate Resolutions 1611 and 1612 in support of colleges adopting an online system for scheduling advising appointments and including the University Writing Center on writing flag courses’ syllabi, respectively.

Angela Kang, academic enrichment at-large representative, Daily Texan science reporter and co-author of both SR 1611 and 1612, said SR 1611 would remove email and phone communication before advising appointments and provide flexibility to the advising staff in setting their own appointment times.

“Online scheduling provides simplicity to the process of seeing academic advisors,” Kang said. “Every college having their own personalized system is a very effective way to cater to each college and relieve the stress of scheduling appointments.”

Kang said SR 1612 will ensure first-year students are provided the necessary resources to complete writing flag courses by promoting the University Writing Center.

“We would like to emphasize that this is a recommendation for professors to expand students’ ability to use all the resources they can on campus,” Kang said.

The Senate discussed four additional resolutions: to support an opt-out system for Canvas plagiarism detection software, to add academic integrity statements to course instructor surveys, to expand the visual and performing arts credit to applied fine arts classes and to designate an academic advisor for prospective health education and kinesiology students.

These resolutions will be voted on at the next general assembly meeting March 2.

Senate members also nominated Austin Reynolds for Senate president and Luciano Barraza for Senate vice president for next year’s executive board.

Correction: The original story spelled Luciano Barraza's name as 'Lociano Barraza. In addition, it misattriubted the quotes of Raphael Jacquette to Cameron Osmond. The Texan regrets these errors.